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QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Welcome to the Jungle



The holiday season is upon us! Thanksgiving at my house included a veritable feast of culinary delights, amongst them: creamed chard, cornbread stuffing, parmesan black pepper biscuits, cranberry ginger tangerine compote, herbs de provence rubbed turkey, scallops with a lemon fig jam, mustard mashed potatoes, red pepper corn, butternut squash sage gratin, pumpkin ricotta cheesecake, and an apple pecan pie. Whew! Oh, there was also a smoked trout spread and a feta pimento cheese dip with chipotle sauce. 


I believe the highlight of the evening, however, had to be the cutthroat game of Cranium played by myself, my husband, four wonderful friends, my mother, and my 83 year-old grandmother, aka “Nanny.” Mom, Nanny, and my long-time friend Nick made up “Team Sexy” while the rest of us fell into either “Team Indigo” or “The Pits.” The Pits suffered no fools, winning by a wide margin, although Team Sexy justly deserved honorable mention. It was a truly wonderful day.

The “rein-goats” above are from nearby goat farm Spinning Spider Creamery. Moving in to chomp the camera, and making strange guttural noises all the while, is Izzy, while Suki’s “you want a piece of me” disposition is fairly obvious, no? The lovely ladies were on hand for portrait taking at the downtown Asheville City Market, heralding the arrival of the holiday season. Truly decadent offerings were provided by Farm & Sparrow, including jumbo brioche and pumpkin & herb-filled pastry triangles. Another holiday-appropriate score was “Jumpin’ Juniper” goat cheese spread from Three Graces Dairy. Check out your local farmer’s markets, as everything from coffeecakes to fir wreaths to hot cider is most likely now ripe for the taking (well, for the right price…).

Chicken Love

In advance of publication of the book series I am authoring, I will be doing a number of promotional videos, discussing everything from chickens, to canning, to shopping at farmer’s markets, and beyond.

Below is the first video clip. It was filmed by my friend and editor, Nicole McConville, at my home earlier this month. I invite you to view it and pass it on to any friends of fine feathered friends that you may know!!

A robe of one’s own

It’s pretty cold ’round here lately. Yesterday morning, the outdoor thermometer read 17 degrees. That’s unseasonably cold for here. In addition to working steadfastly on the wood stove, we employ ample use of flannel chez English in our efforts at staying warm when the mercury plunges. 
The above image is of my new robe. It’s plaid, it’s flannel, and it’s big, which makes it an instant winner in my book. It’s also a men’s robe. Turns out most of the colors I prefer for my wardrobe are not the colors clothing designers believe women desire. While my palette is admittedly on the darker end of the color spectrum, I don’t think I’m the only female wishing to wrap herself up in something other than pink terry cloth snowflakes. 

This robe, created by the charmingly titled “Knotty Woodpecker” line, is a men’s small. On me, it’s a women’s XXL. I love it, though. Paired with wool socks, a pot of hot tea, the occasional hot toddy, and the aforementioned wood stove, I’m making friends with Jack Frost. I’d really love to pick up one of these incredible hot water bottle covers from Toast, out of the U.K.. My hot water bottle, while fighting off cramps and warming toes with equal skill, falls terribly short of anything resembling “lovely.” More like big, pink, rubber hideousness. Europeans have a good thing going with their ubiquitous use of hot water bottles. If you haven’t done so yet, try out a hot water bottle. Get a plaid flannel robe of your own, slide a hot water bottle under the sheets (flannel, if you really want to gild the lily), and fall into a winter wonderland. 

Catching a Buzz

Lately, it’s all about the bees. I put honey in my tea and local bee pollen on my morning yogurt. In fact, I put honey AND pollen on my morning yogurt. I buy plain, organic, whole milk yogurt, scoop about 1/2 c.  in a bowl, drizzle it with honey, and sprinkle about 1 Tbsp. of bee pollen on top of it. Since I’ve been doing this, I have succumbed to neither a head cold nor seasonal allergies. And, yes, I’m knocking on wood as I write this. Give it a go yourself. Find some local honey or pollen, consume it regularly, and note your response. You’ll be supporting bee keepers, helping bee communities to thrive, and heaping nutrients into your body all at the same time. 

I also took an introduction to bee-keeping class just over a week ago. I’ll begin bee-keeping school in early February and hope to have a hive by this spring. The thought of being a keeper of bees enthralls me beyond description.
I’ve also been enjoying bee-related decor lately. This beehive cake pan was a gift I gave my friend Sharon for her birthday. As “Little Bee” is her nickname, it seemed appropriate. I’ve also enjoyed the jewelry of this designer. Her hive-motif pendants capture the innate magic and mystery inherent in the honeycomb. Perhaps some of you local folks would be interested in bee school as well? There’s potential for pleasure, pain, and profit! 

Remember the Sabbath

It’s Sunday, which means I’m doing things like piling logs into the wood stove (note the spectral reflection?), making a go of it at yeast-based bread-making, working on the Introduction to Raising Chickens, watching the sun set over the mountains from my office window, and looking over old letters from friends, including a correspondence with Ryan Adams from back in ’91. It’s funny, the people you meet, having no idea who they will become. 

The dogs are jostling for ownership of a random animal leg bone they found outside. That’s actually an upgrade from the dead shrew Dexter was running around with this morning. I missed that he’d brought it indoors, where he unceremoniously deposited it beside the dining room table. Country living at its finest.